Soldiers honored at Welcome Home ceremony
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Soldiers honored at Welcome Home ceremony

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During his fifth deployment, Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Hayner helped provide logistical support to American troops.

Back in Fremont, his wife, Katie, had her own missions and Hayner could only help from afar.

“Many nights I was on the phone in Iraq, trying to explain to Katie how to do something with the house,” he said.

That included tasks such as changing a furnace filter or finding someone to repair the snowblower. He’s especially proud of how she handled one project: fixing the broken garbage disposal.

“She Googled it and did it herself,” he said, adding, “The thing works great.”

Family members and soldiers got many thanks during a Welcome Home ceremony on Saturday for the 394th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion Detachment 1 of the U.S. Army Reserves of Fremont.

Major Jesse Miller said 35 men and women in the detachment returned after spending nine months at different locations in the Middle East.

“These guys and gals have been in five different countries, helping organize coalition forces against Jihadies,” said U.S. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who serves on the Senate’s Select Intelligence Committee. “ISIS is trying to reconstitute itself and these folks have been doing the work of trying to prevent future attacks like 9-11 or like San Bernardino or like Paris.”

Sasse attended the event to shake hands with members of the detachment.

The soldiers provided logistical support to elements of the Special Operations Command in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Simply put, Miller said, their job involved making sure troops had the right stuff at the right time in the right place and in the right quantities.

“We provided over 3 million gallons of fuel, 400,000 meals, 25,000 miles of convoy support, 3,000 hours of maintenance support and 6 million pounds of cargo moved,” Miller said.

He said the detachment had no casualties, except for one soldier’s thumb that didn’t make it back to the U.S., but for the most part, everyone came home healthy and safe.

The detachment had several Master Sergeants and Sergeants 1st Class.

“We were lucky enough to have the best of the best,” Miller said. “We had soldiers who were very proficient in their tasks and soldiers who were very dedicated to their tasks, even if they were young. My youngest ones were able to buckle down and learn their jobs very well.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Tim Schueth of the 561st Regional Support Group had soldiers raise their hands if this marked their third, fourth or even fifth deployments.

Several soldiers raised their hands, marking multiple deployments.

“That’s dedication,” he said.

Schueth paid tribute to the soldiers’ families.

“We could not do it without you,” Schueth said. “Everybody in the military is thankful for the support we get from our community and from our families.”

Pointing out that a Husker game was scheduled for Saturday, military officials limited their remarks during the brief event.

Afterward, Hayner talked about his 20 years of service.

Hayner said he joined to receive money for college.

A year later, the September 11 terrorist attacks occurred.

He stayed in throughout the years.

“I love the job,” he said. “I love to teach the younger soldiers their jobs and how to be a good soldier.”

He strives to pass on that soldiers are responsible for their own actions.

“Everything you do has a consequence,” he said.

Hayner said his three children, Colin, Walker and Hope, have grown up with his military service.

“It’s a tough sacrifice, but I know it’s an important job,” he said. “It’s worth the sacrifice. My family supports me 100 percent.”

He noted something else:

“It’s not always easy,” Hayner said.

He pointed out all the nights he was on the phone, trying to help his wife accomplish household tasks.

Is she kind of a soldier, too?

“Definitely,” he said.

Hayner works in the Reserves unit in Fremont as a civilian and said if he’s lucky he won’t have any more deployments.

Looking back, Hayner noted that his time in the Middle East passed rapidly.

“We were very busy over there,” he said. “It made the nine months go by really quick.”

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